Contorting the aesthetic of Russian cinema, Balabanov's style was never limited to any one genre, yet remained distinctive in a cinematic landscape where individual identities often merged with marketable movements. The films screening as part of this exclusive Academia Rossica retrospective include Balabanov's iconic crime drama Brother (1997) and its sequel Brother 2 (2000), both of which aimed to shatter the Russia's new global image by occupying a wild west narrative filled with corruption and told via the perspective of a curiously moral and principled assassin. In addition, Balabanov's last two films, Me Too and Stoker - both reviewed by CineVue during their recent festival appearances - will also screen as part of the season.
Further highlights include Balabanov's politically uncompromising and hugely celebrated anti-war films Cargo 200 (2007) and War (2002), his loose adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's early autobiographical stories with Morphine (2008), and his urban love story It Doesn't Hurt Me (2006). There will also be an opportunity to witness Of Freaks and Men (1998) on the big screen, Balabanov's idiosyncratic, sepia-toned cinematic comment on the decline of Russian society due to the rise of Western capitalism, with the role of consumerism (deemed by many national cultural commentators as a contemporary form of colonialism) depicted in the form of the pioneers of film and photographic pornography in the early 1900s.
For further details of the Academia Rossica's Alexei Balabanov season, please visit academia-rossica.org.